With a surprising upset at the 2010 Olympic games, the seventh ranked American ladies pursuit team defeated the number one ranked Canadian team by five hundredths of a second in their quarterfinal race on Friday.
Canada came into the event as world record holders and favourites for gold with a team consisting of Christine Nesbitt, Kristina Groves, and Brittany Schussler along with alternate Cindy Klassen.
The unheralded Americans, led Jennifer Rodriguez, exchanged leads with the Canadians throughout the race and were trailing by one hundredth of a second going into the last lap.
Groves and her teammates could only put their hands on their heads in disappointment at being eliminated from the competition.
In other action on Friday, Japan took on Korea in the first match-up of the afternoon.
Korea took the early lead in the race through the first three laps but Japan quickly began to gain ground as the Korean team began to lose communication with one another especially the third skater who began to lag behind.
Japan defeated Korea by 4.55 seconds to move on to the semi-finals.
Russia took on Poland in the second match up with Russia quickly opening up a lead of well over a second in the first two laps.
Poland trailed until the last lap in a surprising turn of events, one of the Russian skaters began to fatigue allowing Poland to win the quarterfinal by over a second, knocking out the second ranked Russians from the competition.
Germany and Netherlands rounded out the quarterfinal match-ups in a close race as both teams traded leads throughout the race. In the end, Germany would outlast the Netherlands by 1.44 seconds and claim a birth in the semi-finals.
Team Japan will take on Team Poland in one semi-final on Saturday, February 27 at 12:30 PST while the U.S take on Germany in the other semi-final.